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Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Publication | 2020

Value chain development to benefit smallholders in Ghana: The effectiveness of selected interventions

The SELEVER study is a five-year impact evaluation designed to address key knowledge gaps on the impact of a poultry value chain intervention on the diets, health, and nutritional status of women and children in Burkina Faso. This report uses qualitative methods to examine gendered participation in poultry value chains, the gendered opportunities and barriers experienced in poultry value chains, and the SELEVER program’s impact on these factors. A previous report (Eissler et al., 2020) based on the same fieldwork covered questions relating to local understandings of empowerment and dynamics of household food production and allocation. Six villages across five provinces were purposively selected for this study. Data were collected using multiple qualitative methods. In each village, we conducted four sex-disaggregated focus group discussions and semi-structured individual interviews with a man and a woman from two different households. Sex-disaggregated seasonal calendars were created for half of the villages. Interviews were also conducted with project service providers in each community, including group leaders (n=13), voluntary vaccinators (n=10), and poultry traders (n=6). A mix of inductive and deductive coding guided the thematic analysis of the data. The results indicate that while women in the study areas do engage in agricultural labor and various income-generating activities, they must prioritize their domestic responsibilities. Men are primarily responsible for providing staple food ingredients (e.g. grains or meat) for household consumption and earning the primary income, which often requires them to engage in seasonal migration. Men are increasingly aware of women’s time and unpaid labor burdens, and have started sharing in these tasks, a shift in which participants attribute to SELEVER. Additionally, we find that SELEVER has increased women’s capacity and opportunity to engage in poultry value chain activities while reducing barriers to their participation. SELEVER has trained selected women to practice as Village Volunteer Vaccinators (VVVs), which has enabled them to earn additional income. Notably, SELEVER has been effective in challenging and facilitating changing perceptions on traditional gender norms, such that men are increasingly supportive of their wives to engage in income-generating activities or activities outside of the household. Results highlight the importance of SELEVER’s engagement with men, as women’s ability to participate in activities outside of traditional gendered boundaries relies on their husbands’ permission. Without it, a woman cannot raise poultry, cultivate her own crops, practice as a VVV, or participate in women’s associations or income-generating activities. Despite evidence of success, barriers to women’s full participation persist. A lack of sufficient financial capital and autonomy in decision making limit women’s ability to improve upon and manage their poultry endeavors. A lack of financial capacity and time, limited freedom of movement, and restricting social norms further limit women’s ability to practice as service providers in the value chain. SELEVER can continue to address challenging social norms and focus on these more nuanced barriers women face in increasing their capacity for participation.